From a reader: “She’s a good person, which is hard to find. And she’s ready, but I’m not sure she’s the one … and I don’t feel like I can afford another divorce. Do I risk everything?”
When you commit to somebody — especially for better or worse, til death do you part — there’s an inherent risk. And it can feel as though you risk everything: Self-esteem, reputation, meaningful relationships, half of what’s left of your estate and even your last chance at happiness.
What do you really risk, though? The court doesn’t generally take what was already yours when you entered the marriage.
The real problem is that sometimes we’re looking to get from a relationship what we haven’t quite been able to get our arms around. So, it may feel as though we’re risking what we don’t truly have yet.
Marriage can offer you a partner in life, a trusted companion. If you’re looking for more than that — i.e., self-esteem, reputation, meaningful relationships, money or happiness — you’re barking up the wrong tree, but you’re not alone!
Those who enter a relationship thinking it will make them happy are disappointed, every time. But if you’re emotionally healthy going in, you’re likely to enjoy a healthy relationship … and remain healthy even if the relationship ends.
And provided you behave in accordance with your values, your self-esteem, reputation, relationships and overall happiness can only be enhanced (not feeling too sure about anybody’s financial picture these days)!
Breaking up is often devastating more because of perceived loss than actual loss. If we expect a relationship to deliver more than it can, we feel as though we lost what we never really had, what we only hoped the partnership would provide!
A good person isn’t really hard to find, not when you’re manifesting your own goodness. When you’re shining goodness, you attract a partner who is; and neither one of you is looking for salvation in the other.
Instead of picking the only “good” person who comes along, you can select, from a whole pool of people, the sweetheart for you, the one you can connect with in a broad range of areas, and on a deep level in those areas that are most important to you.
You want to spend time together working, playing, exercising, eating and relaxing — with similar values and a common vision for a life together. You want to relate intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and sexually, and enjoy every minute of it.
And if you’re both impeccably honest with each other from the very beginning as you explore your connectedness, the decision to commit is dramatically less risky. In fact, it doesn’t have to feel like a gamble.
So why do we risk our time and energy trying to make something work?
Sometimes we’d rather jump in and take the risk than do our homework. Diving in can be exhilarating; we’re making something happen and moving forward. Besides, people are expecting us to do something.
But it’s when we get in a hurry and commit under pressure that we put more on the line than we have to … and the only thing we can hope to gain is an expensive lesson. Fortunately, if we get the lesson, we’re still ahead in the game!
The homework requires time and effort … but sooner or later, you have to do it! You can put it off, but you can’t alleviate the need for it. It’s what prepares you for what you want.
Once you’ve done it, voila! You have everything that matters, and it’s not at risk; it’s yours for keeps. You’re going to be healthy and happy regardless of the outcome of a relationship.
You’ll know when it’s right, though! And life can only get better with a trusted companion and partner in love.